In 2006, Howard and Donna Smith decided that New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) would be an excellent vehicle to help Habitat affiliates throughout the country increase their capacity to build more homes than they were able to build with only donor dollars and some assistance through Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). Howard and Donna met with Zack Boyers and Marc Hirshman of US Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC) (heads of the NMTC program at USBCDC) and drafted a potential model and deal structure. Howard made an appointment with HFHI and flew down to HFHI headquarters in Atlanta, along with Marc and Zack, and met with their CEO and General Counsel. HFHI agreed to partner with Howard and Donna (and their soon to be formed company, SmithNMTC Associates, LLC). In 2007, Donna and Howard drafted and filed a CDE Certification Application, and then a NMTC Allocation Application seeking an allocation of NMTCs for the CDE. The CDE was certified and received a $25 million allocation for the GOZone (areas in Gulf Coast hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina) in March, 2008. In July, 2008, the CDE closed a transaction in which they provided loans to 5 Habitat affiliates located in the GOZone, using its entire $25 million allocation, resulting in the construction of 305 homes.
In 2008, SmithNMTC also did its first “offline” NMTC transaction, putting together a transaction for the St. Louis and Los Angeles Habitat affiliates with a third party CDE using $7 million of its NMTC allocation. HFHI decided not to apply in 2008, but in 2009, Donna and Howard again wrote a successful allocation application and their CDE received a $50 million allocation which it deployed over a 1 year period. Visit the Case Studies page to learn more about specific building projects, and to meet some proud new home owners.
In 2010, after receiving a second allocation for its CDE (in partnership with HFHI) and undertaking several more offline transactions, Howard and Donna expanded their staff to include Tabor Burke, who had worked as an associate for Howard at the law firm of Ziercher & Hocker, before leaving to go to the May Company. The following year, they brought in Niccole Garner who had recently graduated with a J.D. and an LLM in Taxation, followed by Nancy Azerolo, a CPA, a few months later. In 2012, Smith NMTC hired Carrie Wetzel, a CPA, as Staff Accountant, and Laurie Leritz as a Compliance Officer to help manage the company’s NMTC portfolio which exceeded $275 million ($103M with the HFHI CDE and $175M with other CDEs) by May, 2013.